The Hwang Sun-woo Effect at the Fukuoka World Championships
The men’s 400-meter medley relay team set a Korean record at the 2023 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Tuesday. This brings the total number of Korean records set at the World Championships to eight. The previous best was six, set at Gwangju in 2019.
The men’s 400-meter medley relay team posted a time of 3:34.25 in the preliminaries on the final day of competition on Tuesday, breaking the previous Korean record (3:34.96) by 0.71 seconds. They finished 10th overall in the preliminaries and failed to qualify for the finals, where they would have placed eighth. The medley relay consisted of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle, with Lee Ju-ho, Choi Dong-yeol, Kim Young-beom, and Hwang Sun-woo taking turns in the water.
South Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo competed in four events at the Games, including the 100m and 200m freestyle and the 800m freestyle relay, and set four South Korean records. In the 200-meter freestyle final, he touched the touchpad in 1:44.42 to win bronze, breaking his own Korean record, and in the 800-meter freestyle relay, he broke the Korean record in both the preliminaries and finals. The only time he failed to break the Korean record was in the 100-meter freestyle. Hwang finished ninth overall in the 100m freestyle semifinals with a time of 48.08, missing out on the eight-man final. The Korean record in the men’s 100-meter freestyle is 47.56, set by Hwang at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
South Korea was the only Asian nation to reach the final of the men’s 200m freestyle (Hwang Sun-woo, Lee Ho-joon), 고스톱 400m freestyle (Kim Woo-min) and 800m freestyle relay at the event, boosting its gold medal prospects at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.